Archives West Finding Aid
Journal of the voyage to the East Indies in the ship the Duke of Grafton, 1779
- Journal of the voyage to the East Indies in the ship the Duke of Grafton
- 1 volume bound, (clamshell box)
- Collection Number
- Manuscript account of the voyage of an English East Indiaman ship, including descriptions of towns, trade, and customs, and a first-hand insight into the events of the Second Anglo-Mysore War.
Lewis & Clark College, Special Collections and Archives
Aubrey R. Watzek Library
615 S. Palatine Hill Rd.
- Access Restrictions
Collection is open for research.
Historical NoteReturn to Top
Manuscript account of the voyage to the East Indies in the ship the Duke of Grafton. Believed to be under the command of Richard Pierce. Manuscript on paper, with 7 pages of ink and wash drawings of coastal sights with their bearings, comprising Porto Sancto, The Deserters, Madeira, Goree, Trinidada, Martin Vas, St Paul, Friar's Hood, Point Gallo, and Adam's Peak; bound in later coarse brown cloth. 24x19 cm. 58 pgs.
Content DescriptionReturn to Top
Manuscript account of the voyage of an English East Indiaman, including descriptions of towns, trade, and customs, and a first-hand insight into the events of the Second Anglo-Mysore War. The ship, the Duke of Grafton, travelled with twelve ships of the East India Company included in the convoy were: the Granby, the Fox, the Norfolk, the Earl of Oxford, the Atlas, the General Barker, the Alfred, the Earl of Talbot, the Ganges, the Resolution, the Worcester, and the Halsewell. The account details the Grafton's voyage from Portsmouth, past Madeira and on to Senegal, then down to Trinidad, before calling in at Cape Town. The ship then heads for Madras, then back round past Sri Lanka, up to Bombay, before returning to Madras and heading on to Calcutta, picking up and dropping off various cargoes on its way. The anonymous author provides vibrant descriptions of some of the towns the Grafton calls in at; Cape Town, Madras, and Bombay all have detailed discussions of the intricacies of the cities and their inhabitants. Amongst the many and varied aspects covered are: the Dutch of Cape Town (for whom the author has an especial dislike); the 'black' area and 'white' area of the Indian cities; Hinduism; a discussion of the caste system; the Parsi inhabitants of Bombay and their history; the Black Hole of Calcutta; and the clothing, customs, trade, eating habits, marriages of the peoples encountered. Along with the vivid reports of the places visited by the Grafton, the writer also details some of the hardships and difficulties faced by sailors at the time. The first page of the log includes a discussion on and condemnation of the Navy's practice of impressment: 'Happy would it be for those Men, and for the Navy, and Kingdom in general, could some Expedient be hit on to man his Majesty's Navy in a more respectable Manner, and explode a Practice disgraceful to the Service and Mocking to Humanity.' During the course of the voyage, the ship is attacked by a privateer, and is beset by a fever, and finally, afflicted by scurvy.
The Grafton's second arrival into Madras, following the stop at Bombay, comes during the opening days of the Second Anglo-Mysore War, shortly before the Battle of Pollilur (1780). The diary includes an account of the battle, which was, until the Battle of Chillianwala, the worst defeat suffered by the British on the subcontinent.